It’s a COVID-19 Brave New World. The world changed for us on the weekend of, March 7. In good ways but also bad ways.

Celebration then Isolation

March 7 was the First Daughter’s wedding in Minneapolis. It was a celebratory event. We had a great weekend. Got a new Daughter-in-Law. We worshipped, we ate, we danced with extended family and friends. Dan got to deliver the penultimate toast with some fun and touching family storytelling. Lori looked like a blonde Mrs. Masil in a classic tea-length dress. The daughters got to shine. But it already feels like another time. A last hurrah!

Self-Isolation a World Apart

The following Monday, March 9, the news of coronavirus kept escalating. The black swan showed up on our side of the world. We went into self-isolation. We did one brief and careful shopping trip on the 10th for a few items. But have since stayed apart.

Business Shock

I’m helping my business clients survive a collapse of revenue and the resulting loss of cash flow to service long-term debt. Not all will survive. I’m grieving along with friends and colleagues. Some are pivoting into the crisis with new solutions. We need small businesses on the backside of this emergency to survive to create jobs anew in the recovery. Without small businesses? We’ll emerge from a public health crisis into an economic Depression.

Family Separation

Lori’s focused on the resulting isolation of her 91-year old Mom in a locked-down senior living facility. No more face-to-face family visits. The risk is too high for the elderly with underlying medical conditions like Mom’s emphysema and more. That means multiple calls a day both with Mom and the siblings. Producing cards and gifts. Photo sharing online and more. We worry about Mom’s physical and emotional health.

Fighting the Unseen and Unknown

The math is discouraging because this sneaky coronavirus is both easily transmitted (high RO in epidemiological terms) and because it is transmissible when people are asymptomatic. Screening for fevers isn’t enough. People already spread the virus before they are obviously sick. If you didn’t learn exponential equations in school? We’re living in one now. Flattening the curve is a real challenge. So welcome to social distancing, self-isolation, and even quarantine. It’s like listening to my maternal grandmother and WWI Army Nurse describe the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu.

We live in rural Iowa. We benefit from physical separation and lower density. We’re at risk however because our health system starts out understaffed and with very few Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. And because of our 60ish age. I compound the age risk with asthma. Colds go straight to my bronchial tubes. That’s not good with this novel coronavirus.

Dystopian COVID-19 Brave New World

Aldous Huxley’s 1932 dystopian novel, Brave New World, is a literature staple. The real-world sure feels dystopian now. There’s both injustice and suffering. None of this is the fault of the business owners shut down or patients struggling to breathe. Or the families losing loved ones. The cost to livelihoods and lives is the definition of unjust suffering. The virus doesn’t care. We face its impersonal tyranny.

Return to Principles — High Purpose

Healthcare providers and caregivers on the front lines are necessarily at risk. That’s both courage and mission expressed in daily service above and beyond.

Our survival, both individually and as a society, requires social distancing and physical isolation. We are all called to higher purpose and leadership. We’re trying to live out our principles that require teamwork and service beyond self while minimizing physical contact. That’s not an easy equation to solve. For the time being, helping each other requires minimizing physical contact or being together in body.

Sharing the Search for New Meanings and Solutions

We’re going to share our journey in higher purpose going forward as one answer.

COVID-19 Brave New World

No Return to Normalcy

The big observation from the last few days? There will be no return to normalcy. This is a “things are permanently different” event. There was before. There’s the strange now. There will be a different future. An event of this magnitude leaves a mark. We don’t know yet what that looks like. But this “lost year” will permanently change life, society, and business. So, one necessary response is to start looking for clues. How will life change going forward, even after the public health emergency is passed? It’s a COVID-19 Brave New World.

Doctor Strange

I compare the strange now to the alternate reality of the Mirror Universe in Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Except in this alternate reality? The here and now damages the future. We’re trading jobs and economic damage for saving lives. Necessary, but painful.

What’s Your COVID-19 Brave New World?

This is Aldous Huxley’s COVID-19 Brave New World. How is your world changing? Share your challenges? What will linger even after the emergency? What are your big fears?

Interested in a Weekly What-If Session?

Would you be interested in a free weekly opportunity to brainstorm and explore your “what ifs?” We could discuss options based on our shared experiences in business, personal finance, lifestyle, and life? Maybe get outside our own head with a sounding board. Videoconferencing like Zoom makes this easy to do. We’ll experiment next week, April 3, 2020, with a Friday, 10:00 AM CST call-in videoconference. Sign-in details to join will follow.

Aging With Freedom’s high purpose or mission is shifting to understand and help our friends and followers deal with a new reality. Aging With Freedom requires building the best Brave New World we can.